As baseball history in Buffalo goes, Saturday morning will stand as a neat moment of paying homage to the past. About 100 of us were there behind the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts as a plaque was unveiled (left-click for full view) to mark the site of old Offermann Stadium, the Bisons' home from 1889-1960.
The idea was the brainchild of Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame site exhibit and board member John Boutet, curator of the Buffalo Sports Museum. He went to the site on Sept. 17, 2010, the 50th anniversary of the final game at the park, and realized nothing marked the area at Michigan and East Ferry where Bisons and baseball legends once played.
Names such as Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, Lou Boudreau and Tommy Lasorda played at Offermann. So did many Bisons legends led by Luke Easter, whose home run over the center-field scoreboard in 1957 was the first of its kind and was immortalized in a News file photo (right-click alert).
Working through the Hall, councilman Joe Golombek and the city's Arts Commission, Boutet shepherded a two-year process to raise money for the marker, get it produced and erected. Frank and Paul Offermann, sons of the legendary late Bisons owner Frank Offermann Sr., were among those on hand for the dedication.
Said master of ceremonies Pete Weber, the team's former radio voice and a Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer: "[The plaque will be] standing as a remembrance to all who came before -- players, coaches, owners, broadcasters, workers and fans. Everyone who made baseball special for those 72 years."